Red Dead Redemption’s John Marston has seen his fair share of cougar attacks and smarmy outlaws. But is he ready to take on a mysterious infection that is raising the dead across the game’s dusty, open world?
On this particular demo mission, Marston is tasked with “cleansing” a graveyard, having heard that this baffling disease has spread to this particular area, raising undead ghouls from their graves. The goal is to burn up a series of coffins, marked on the mini-map as yellow dots. To do this, you’ll use one of the game’s new weapons, a flaming torch. While Marston will pull out the torch and burn the wooded caskets with a context sensitive press of a button, it can also be used to light zombies on fire. The catch, of course, is that the fire won’t necessarily slow them down, or even kill them. If your worst nightmares include being pursued by flaming ghouls, you might want to think twice before using the torch in a melee attack.
In the demo area Rockstar allowed me to play, the odds were stacked against me, with only 20 bullets in my pistol to start. The graveyard area in this particular mission was small, and the zombie to Marston ratio was overwhelming. Not at first, mind you -- burning an initial casket triggered a few of the undead to attack. The more caskets you burn, however, the more creatures join in on the assault. Thanks to “Godfather of the Modern Zombie” George A. Romero, zombies in Red Dead Redemption are mostly bullet sponges. Feel free to fire off a slew of bullets in their general direction -- sure, that might slow them down -- but don’t expect them to drop quite so easily. A well-place bullet to the brain, however, results in a gratifying splatter (including a nice chunk of the skull flying through the air), the creature crumbling to the ground as a pile of undead meat.
Also new to Marston’s arsenal is a blunderbuss, a shotgun style weapon that uses zombie parts as ammo. Yes, that’s right, I just said there’s a gun that uses parts of corpses as ammunition. Once you load the gun with the slabs of undead meat, you can fire the gun off for a satisfying zombie explosion. The upside here is that this is a one-shot, no more zombie situation that can come in handy in a pinch. The downfall, as if there could be any to raining zombie gore all over the place, is that the bodies are obliterated and can’t be searched for more ammo.